National Prosecuting Authority expresses discontent over Mamombe, Chimbiri’s acquittal

Joana Mamombe and Cecilia Chimbiri

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has expressed discontent over the acquittal of CCC officials Joana Mamombe and Cecilia Chimbiri by the High Court in the middle of trial and announced that it will appeal the decision at the Supreme Court.

The duo was on trial on charges of fabricating their abduction by State security agents in 2020 and publishing falsehoods.

 The acquittal comes after Mamombe and Chimbiri approached the High Court challenging the trial court’s decision to allow their criminal matter to proceed to the defence.

Justice Priscilla Munangati-Manongwa upheld the duo’s application for review saying the lower court erred in declining the duo’s application.

She ruled that State witnesses’ testimony was conflicting and the falsity of the alleged statement was simply absent and the incriminating evidence against the suspects had been discredited during cross-examination.

 This, the judge ruled such evidence had become so manifestly unreliable such that no reasonable court could safely convict on such evidence.

 The decision to free the opposition political officials did not go down well with the NPA, which viewed the ruling as defective at law, and now seeks to appeal at the Supreme Court.

 “The State will be appealing the decision of the High Court in the case of Joana Mamombe and Cecilia Revei Chimbiri versus the Chief Magistrate F Mushure NO and the State,” said the NPA in a statement.

“The State is of the considered view that the judgment is defective for want of compliance with the High Court Act [Chap 7:06] as well as a precedent, which provides that another Judge must concur with the presiding Judge before the judgment is handed down.

“The State is also contending that the Judge grossly misdirected herself by interfering with the unterminated proceedings from the lower court, as the termination of proceedings, in this case, was unjustified.”

To this end, the NPA strongly feels that another court presented with the same facts might come to a different conclusion.

 Charges against Mamombe and Chimbiri arose when they allegedly claimed to have been seized by suspected state agents and taken to a secluded location outside of Harare.

 While there, the duo claimed to have been subjected to torture and sexual assault.

 Upon their arrest, they were charged with communicating falsehoods. However, while in the middle of the trial, the High Court found them not guilty and acquitted them of all the charges.

Herald

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